[Take Action] The GOP repeal of Obamacare really hurts New Mexico. Here’s how.

Republicans’ new health-care bill is a mass transfer of income that cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans while cutting federal benefits for the middle and working class. Just two provisions in the Republican plan would allow the richest households to pay an average of nearly $200,000 less under the GOP plan, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The Washington Post, March 7, 2017
The Republican plan for health insurance works exactly the opposite from the way insurance is supposed to work. Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), consumers pay less because premiums are set each year and your costs are capped if you get sick. And in New Mexico, making health care accessible has had a huge impact: the number of uninsured in New Mexico dropped by 41% under Obamacare and 33,000 New Mexicans get help paying for new coverage.

3 Bills Aim to Protect Reproductive Rights in New Mexico

[UPDATE: SB 282 Passed in the House Judiciary Committee, March 10! Now it moves on the the Governor’s desk.]

Respect New Mexico Women, a coalition of local organizations committed to supporting women’s health care access launched their reproductive agenda this week with a trio of legislative bills that expand the reproductive rights of women in our state, where New Mexicans remain unapologetically in favor of a woman’s right to access all forms of healthcare, including abortion. This is not necessarily true across the nation, where supporters, activists and healthcare providers face the possibility of dangerous rollbacks in legislation. Committees are reviewing at least forty-six anti-abortion bills in 14 states that challenge access to reproductive health including the right to a legal and safe abortion. With the appointment of religious zealot Betsy DeVos, whose family money has “funded crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)” that lie to patients about pregnancy, abortion, and other health concerns,” women’s health may soon find itself in limbo, but not yet.

Without Planned Parenthood, New Mexico Men Will Lose Services Too

Planned Parenthood inches ever closer to being defunded as part of the GOP’s gleeful plan to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid, and gut the Affordable Care Act. As soon as President-elect Trump takes office, 40% of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer-funded budget could vanish, leaving hundreds of thousands of women without health care (or access to a safe, legal abortion). Women aren’t the only ones at risk. There are health concerns that impact men only – Planned Parenthood provides services for them as well. Men are also at risk when it comes to the loss of Planned Parenthood funding.

Rape kit backlog (finally) gets a lot more attention as legislative session nears

“With policies to overcome troubling long-held attitudes about victims, support for service providers and adequate funding, New Mexico can help lead the way by taking a concrete stand against sexual assault.”

— Tim Keller, New Mexico State Auditor

New Mexico has struggled over the last year to come to terms with a horrifying reality. Victims of sexual assault who submitted evidence from their attacks have waited years (sometimes over a decade) to see that evidence processed; often the first step in a long and difficult road to seek justice, or at the very least closure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZdJF8KMIiY
This problem exists across the county, but like so many things, New Mexico ranks at the bottom of all states in per capita untested kits.  

Public Health New Mexico reported some of the first articles on the rape kit testing crisis back in July of this year. In a series of stories, KUNM brought the subject to the forefront again.

Parents and Presidents can’t afford to get sick.

And with a bang of District Judge Alan Malott’s gavel, big business interests in New Mexico postponed – at least for now – a worker-led ballot initiative that would guarantee sick-leave for workers in the Duke City. Now, workers will keep serving our food, caring for our kids and our elderly parents when they’re under the weather. If nothing else, this week reminds us that parents and Presidents can’t afford to get sick. Fox News pundits do the happy dance as they chronicle day two of investigative reporting into presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s absence from the campaign trail. Pneumonia?

Action Alert: Graphic anti-abortion mailer targets progressive legislators (again)

Is anti-choice group Protest Albuquerque about to break the law… again? This week the denounced anti-choice group ‘Protest Albuquerque’ announced plans to send out more mailers depicting gruesome images and targeting what they call “religious pro-abortion Catholic Democrats.” In this round of mailers they say they will be targeting voters starting with homes in the districts of progressive champions State Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Jacob Candelaria. Previously the group sent mailers just before New Mexico’s primary election day on June 7 into districts targeting Michael Sanchez, Bill O’Neill, and Daniel Ivey-Soto.

Lt. Governor takes page out of anti-abortion extremist playbook

There is an old saying in Spanish: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” It translates roughly to “tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are.” This past week Lt. Governor John Sanchez took to Facebook to make it extremely clear who he’s with. In a Facebook post (see below), Sanchez continued the dangerous and blatantly false rhetoric that anti-abortion extremists have been using to describe the Congressional witch-hunt against clinics and medical institutions across the country and in our own state.  

Contrary to Sanchez’s version of the facts, these hearings, like the previous three investigating Planned Parenthood, have found no evidence of wrongdoing. Like the investigation he references, Lt. Governor Sanchez’s claims are baseless.

GOP Witch-Hunt Targets UNM Med Students & Staff

The Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health is relentless in their witch-hunt to collect the names of UNM Health Sciences Center students and staff. Just yesterday the committee they issued yet another round of subpoenas demanding the names redacted in documents provided by UNM to ensure the safety of their employees and students. But even after issuing three rounds of subpoenas the anti-abortion committee chair, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, has refused to provide any rationale for why she needs to create a database of names of researchers, students, doctors, and personnel.  Now, they want to take their harassment to a whole new level by requiring UNM faculty to appear before them in an effort that will only further feed the anti-abortion extremist rhetoric that has inspired violence against abortion providers. Can you imagine what could happen if the names of UNM’s professors and students end up in the hands of anti-abortion extremists?

Sneaky Friday announcement: Gov. to takeover UNM’s hospitals/health sciences to stop healthcare expansion plan

Susana Martinez is trying to take over the UNM Health Sciences Center. You probably won’t believe it – who are we kidding, it’s Susana Martinez – but Gov. Martinez is attempting a shady movida on a Friday afternoon to take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the hands of doctors and qualified hospital administrators and hand it over to her hand-picked political appointees. A story from the NM Political Report (full story here) was just published that shows the UNM Board of Regents have an item on their Monday meeting agenda to dissolve the board governing the UNM Health Sciences Center and replace its oversight with the UNM Board of Regents, all of whom are Susana Martinez appointees. The UNM Health Sciences Board was created under Gov. Richardson under the belief that political appointees at UNM didn’t have the proper experience to guide the hospital and so needed a team of doctors and hospital administrators…you know, the people who actually do this stuff everyday and aren’t influenced by fickle political winds. The Board of Regents has always been an important body, but it has become politicized in recent years under Martinez.

Notorious RBG smacks down abortion opponents, New Mexico-style

Last week the US Supreme Court heard arguments challenging a law that targets abortion providers and clinics. While the case (Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt) focuses around a Texas law (HB 2), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used New Mexico as an example to expose the true agenda behind these absurd restrictions. [**Hat tip to our friends at Progress Texas for the awesome Notorious RBG picture up top**]

New Mexico, you probably recall, has become a battleground as out-of-state extremists try to impose dangerous restrictions on reproductive health care. 2013 saw Albuquerque voters defeat a measure to outlaw certain abortions and many bills have been introduced in the legislature since then to restrict access (luckily, they’ve all been defeated). The main force behind defeating the Albuquerque measure in 2013 was the Respect ABQ Women coalition.